slowthai Brings British Grime To This Ain’t No Picnic Thoughts+Photos: slowthai at This Ain't No Picnic 8/28/22
LOS ANGELES, CA-
“… Slowthai played next. He is a British rapper that reminded me of The Streets—I am obviously poorly versed in British rap since this is a pretty basic go-to for anybody.
I sat near a man who, before he told me his opinion of the show asked, “Are you related to him in any way?” After saying I was not, he voiced his lukewarm feelings about the concert. But I contend that Slowthai’s performance gave me more to write about than most.
Slowthai walked onto an empty stage in a pair of long plaid shorts that might have been mistaken for boxers. A patchwork of tattoos covered his torso like high school sketches on a desk. He rapped in a nearly antagonistic, self-contained kind of way. He kept his energy to himself rather than sending it out to the crowd. He rather required the crowd’s energy to come to him. It was as if the spectacle performance, fame, and idealization were not worth his time. His seemingly detached antagonism was the basis for many fans’ point of contention (I don’t think Americans appreciate performative irony much), but I found that it fit Slowthai’s music to a tee, which has found its base in political statements and sticking it to the man. Not to mention that, despite his intimidating personage, he talked about love and freedom over and over again.
I wondered as well if the basis for his withholding of too much energy was a result of just how his music came about in a literal sense. His stage name, Slowthai, came from an early speech impediment that the rapper had overcome. The “Thai” of Tyron Kaymone Frampton spoke slowly, hence, Slowthai. I rather imagined that his stage presence had a real background in reflection and the amusement he found in his circumstances as a result. “Is this a game?” He laughed between sets….”
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